October 21, 2014

Need a Parking Space? There's an App for That on Android.

Having grown up and spent a lot of time working in the Boston area, I have experienced the pain of trying to find a parking spot somewhat near my destination.  Finding an open spot was akin to winning the lottery, one which you have to almost fight other people to become the victor. Google is looking to give Android users a solution to the Royal Rumble of Parking by releasing an app called Open Spot.

This is a very cool, simple app that I think really could work if used right.  A driver who is leaving a spot opens the app and marks the spot they are leaving as open.  Those in the area who open the app while they are looking for a spot can then see the open spot on a map, along with how long ago it opened up. Pretty sweet!  After 20 minutes of being posted, the spot is removed automatically.  There is an in-app reward system that lets people give you “karma points,” meaning if you give good info on an open spot, they can increase your rating. Give a bad spot, and your rating goes down.

Google says that they have a mechanism in place to deal with “griefers,” people who post bad spots randomly.  This mechanism has yet to be seen, but it is nice to know that Google will be monitoring the app to help prevent abuse.

Open Spot requires Android 2.0 or higher and is currently only available in the U.S., Canada, and Netherlands. Chalk this app up as another practical, useful app that Android users can take advantage of!